Health Check Kids: ‘Brain Week RI’

Some Rhode Island students got an up-close look at the super highway called the brain. (WJAR)

Some Rhode Island students got an up-close look at the super highway called the brain.

Park View Middle School in Cranston was one of the stops for Dr. Victoria Heimer-McGinn, who co-founded “Brain Week RI” with her father.

"Our goal was really to get people to understand research is important when it comes to solving mental illness,” said Heimer-McGinn, who got her PhD at Brown University and is currently working on post-doctorate research at Providence College.

Her focus at PC is the mechanism of memory loss.

But just as important, she says, is getting younger students involved in the neurosciences.

With her team of graduate students from Brown University, Heimer-McGinn brought actual human brains that have been preserved -- to the classroom.

"Having the visual really helps to talk about things that might otherwise be boring if they were just sitting in a classroom listening to a lecture," said Heimer-McGinn.

Students said they enjoyed the hands-on learning opportunity.

"It's pretty neat because not a lot of people have the experience to try and see what a brain would look like," said John Varin, a seventh-grader.

“It’s a cool experience to see,” said Armase Edouard, another student.

So, what does an actual brain feel like?

"The texture felt weird, kind of like squishy,” said Nelson Carvalho.

"I think this is a really cool experience that we're able to do this at a level like this," said Isaiah Coulanges.

“If you want to do this in the future, you have some experience,” said Unique Montalvo, who added that she thinks neurosciences is interesting.

Heimer-McGinn was pleased with the way the students were reacting.

"I want a generation of children who understand how important the brain is and how important it is to be kind to your brain,” said Heimer McGinn.

Brain Week events and speeches begin March 10. Click here to learn more.

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